Monday, June 01, 2009
Books Buzz from the Meltingpot (and a Giveaway!)
Happy June Meltingpot Readers.
Sorry I wasn't here last Friday, but I was in New York City at BookExpo 2009, which is the biggest literary trade show in the country. I was lucky enough to speak on a panel called Voices and Visions of a New American Dream, with journalist turned novelist, Farai Chideya and poet Patricia Spears Jones. The panel was sponsored by a wonderful literary organization called, Up South. I highly recommend you check them out and attend some of their events or at least donate to their cause. One of the best questions the moderator asked the three of us on the panel was, "Why do you write?" The three of us, in our own way, all answered, "because we love it."
So with a happy literary buzz, I explored the rest of the expo, looking for interesting books to bring back to the Meltingpot. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to check out even half of the exhibits, but I'll share what I did find.
- In December 2009, riding the all things Obama popularity wave, Duke University Press will be releasing Surviving against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia by...wait for it...Barack Obama's mother, S. Ann Dunham. But hasn't she crossed over, you ask? Yes, but this was her doctoral dissertation and one of her former professors and students have since edited it and prepared it for publication. And Dunham's daughter, Maya Soetoro-Ng has written the foreword.
The book is being billed as "an anthropological study by the mother of President Barack Obama," but in its own right, it sounds like a fascinating read about "the rural craftsmen of Java." Who do you think will be buying this book? I probably won't but Duke University Press has many other books about race, culture and religion coming up this fall and winter that sound fantastic.
- Of course I had my eyes open for good multi-culti children's books and was overjoyed to discover Cinco Puntos Press. Their small booth at BookExpo was filled with colorful books in English and Spanish covering topics as diverse as the civil rights movement in America to Haitian folktales. It turns out that Cinco Puntos Press is a family owned and operated publishing house and bookstore based in El Paso, Texas. Texas Monthly magazine wrote this about them, "Since 1985, this family-owned and–operated indie publishing house has been churning out fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books on social justice issues around the world." I totally (heart) them already. You can order books directly from their website or look for their titles at your local bookstore or library. But please, lets support this dedicated publisher and bookstore committed to telling Meltingpot stories.
- And finally, after my rant against the dearth of good multi-culti magazines, I was so happy to meet the people behind Kiki Magazine. Yes, I'm a little bit old for their target demographic of girls age 8-14, but I still love it. It's fresh and smart and pretty to look at. Sample stories include, "Spring Holidays around the world," Eco-friendly fashion" and "The Greenest Cities in the World." It's a quarterly magazine started by a woman with a daughter who was frustrated with the lack of quality publications...hmmm...sounds familiar...
And in personal Lori L. Tharps literary news, Kinky Gazpacho:Life, Love & Spain was just released in paperback by Washington Square Press. The paperback is very cute and portable, perfect for summer reading and comes with a nice Book Group reading guide and an interview with moi. Run, run, run to your local book store for a copy. Or (drum roll) you can wait for another year until my new novel comes out. Yes, dear readers, I have just signed the contract for my first novel. It is called, Substitute Me and is about the relationship between a young White woman and the Black woman she hires to be the nanny for her young child. The two women are the same age and the story explores that very unique friendship/relationship. Look for it summer 2010.
And to celebrate my literary luck, I'm giving away two copies of Kinky Gazpachoin paperback, to two random readers who tell me what they're most looking forward to reading this summer. Entries must be in by Friday, June 5 by midnight.
(photo is book cover from Cinco Puntos Press)